January 24, 2022

Former FUFA Female Player of the Year winners, how they are faring

By Peace Diane Bagala
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Fauzia Najjemba poses next to her car after she was named the FUFA Female player of the year

Year 2018 saw the organizers of the famous Ballon d’Or introduce the female version – Ballon d’Or feminine, a bold gesture that top women players in the world deserved to be celebrated alongside their male counterparts.

The same had happened in Uganda in 2015 when the Airtel FUFA Awards were held for the first time.

Among the eleven categories was the female player of the year and today, Football256 takes you through the career journey of the football queens since they stormed the big stage.

Sandra Nabweteme 2015

Sandra Nabweteme at goal during the 2021 COSAFA Womens Championship Group C game between Eswatini and Uganda at Madibaz Stadium in Gqeberha on 3 October 2021 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

There is no defense she did not torment that year, little wonder she beat off competition from teammate Hasifah Nassuna and Buikwe She Red Stars’ Winnie Babirye.

The pacy forward added two leagues and two golden boots to her name before joining Southwestern Oklahoma State University for further studies, where she left for her new home Hafnarfjordur in Iceland and is a regular at the national team, the Crested Cranes.

Hasifah Nassuna 2016

Hasifah Nassuna after being voted the Female Player of the year during the 2016 Airtel-FUFA Awards | Courtesy photo

Arguably one of the best of her generation, the talent embedded in her could not allow her survive another year minus being pronounced as the best, a year after she had made a podium finish in 2015.

The only player currently with the most podium finishes, four to be specific that is in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, Nassuna has since won three more leagues and the Women Cup with UCU, a side she has played for since leaving her girl-hood side, Kawempe Muslim.

Fazila Ikwaput 2017

Fazila Ikwaput (L) in action against Isra Soccer Academy | FUFA Media

Finishing as league top scorer and MVP in the league this year was not the first time Ikwaput achieved the feat, it is her daily bread, it is so simple to her, so simple as the word itself sounds.

Four years back, the then Olila Queens striker helped her team win the inaugural FUFA Women Cup, finishing as tournament MVP and top scorer, plus helping her very young team play its first ever playoffs in history.

Putting aside shot stopper Vanessa Karungi and Hasifah Nassuna, Ikwaput went professional, having short spells in India and Kazakhstan side BIIK Kazygurt.

With the latter, she played the prestigious UEFA Women Champions League and scored past Spanish giants Barcelona Feminine.

Injuries have played a role in dragging the lanky forward behind. Fazila features for Masindi side Lady Doves and the senior National team.

Ruth Aturo 2018

Uganda Crested Cranes keeper Ruth Aturo | Courtesy photo

The only outfield player to win the gong since its inception. Aturo had to tussle it out with defender Shadia Nankya who had produced stellar performances all year and midfielder Tracy Jones Akiror.

She currently features for UCU Lady Cardinals and captains the senior national team.

Juliet Nalukenge 2019

Juliet Nalukenge | FUFA Media

Captaining the U17 Uganda team looked ordinary but top scoring and leading the team to winning the title was key in Nalukenge’s colorful year.

Once again top scoring in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup caught the attention of Cyprian side Apollon Ladies, who signed her and later on loaned her out to Amok Chrysomilia FC. She is also a reliable at the senior national team.

Fauzia Najjemba 2021

Fauzia Najjemba (R) against Ethiopia in the first round of the 2021 U17 FIFA Women World Cup Qualifier at Lugogo / Courtesy Image

After a full year of no action because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Airtel FUFA awards returned and this time, it was Kampala Queens and Mukono High School captain Fauzia Najjemba who drove away from Munyonyo in a Subaru Imprezza.

Her claim to the victory was basically on both the national team and the U20 side.

Signed under Sports in Motion Agency, Najjemba is itching to storm the lucrative European market, already attracting interest from Ukrainian side Shakhtar

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